The Occupy Wall Street and Strike Debt campaign Rolling Jubilee launched its first foray into debt abolition. Strike Debt raised over half a million dollars through donations and a highly publicized telethon. This money can buy up debt for pennies on the dollar and, unlike debt collection agencies, Strike Debt will simply abolish this debt. With the money raised so far, Strike Debt will be able to abolish over $10,000,000 worth of debt.

With the first round of debt abolition, the organization bought up $100,000 worth of distressed medical debt from 44 residents in Upstate New York for only $5,000. The randomly selected people will receive a festively wrapped package in the mail with the notification that their debt has been bought and abolished. Copies of The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual, which was written and printed by Strike Debt, will also be sent to these 44 fortunate people.

Strike Debt is planning on using many of the funds raised to abolish medical debt. A report released in January by the American Journal of Medicine found that 62% of all bankruptcies in the US are for medical debt so it only makes sense to target this form of debt. The group is also planning to create a data base so there is a degree of transparency and openness over what kind of debt they actually abolish.

This abolition of debt is occurring at the same time that HSBC was found to have laundered billions of dollars into Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. The Justice Department refused to pursue criminal prosecutions against anyone at the big bank. As the government continues to bail out corrupt big banks, even when they finance drug cartels and break countless laws, Strike Debt is instead focusing on bailing out the 99% and relieving those that suffer from the stranglehold of debt.

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn

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